PORT OF SPAIN — The Jamaica Observer newspaper owes Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the people of this country an apology.
This was the position yesterday of government ministers Dr. Suruj Rambachan and Dr. Roodal Moonilal who said the newspaper’s editorial was an attack on the government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
National Security Minister Jack Warner has also described the editorial as an attack on the government.
The Observer on Tuesday published an editorial titled The more important issue is abuse of substance.
The editorial took note of former government minister Verna St. Rose Greaves’ allegation that the prime minister had an issue which was interpreted to be a substance abuse problem – which Persad-Bissessar refuted.
The editorial stated that the abuse of substance in the form of “ethnic stocking” was a greater problem in this country.
“The real problem in the energy-rich republic is not substance abuse, but the abuse of substance. By that we mean the abuse of the substance of government business because of the ethnic stocking of public offices and the widespread perception of corruption,” stated the editorial.
“Notwithstanding minister Jack Warner, the current government of Trinidad and Tobago has systematically practised ethnic stocking; rewarding individuals with positions even though they (are) not qualified, either by professional training or by pertinent transferable work experience,” it added.
The editorial stated that there was need for this country to conduct a parliamentary review of appointees to local and overseas posts.
This country’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Rev Dr. Iva Gloudon, also issued a statement to the newspaper on Wednesday expressing disappointment and regret over the editorial.
The Express obtained a copy of Gloudon’s statement which was sent to the Observer which read in part:
“As the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago to Jamaica, let me first respectfully say that in my experience, there are times when shouting across the Caribbean Sea does not help a cause. I must, therefore, use this opportunity to say, softly, that it is with regret and disappointment that I read the Jamaica Observer’s editorial of Tuesday 11, November, 2012 “The Abuse of Substance”. (Express)